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Cassius
7/20/2013 9:44am,
http://i.imgur.com/NYfVJep.jpg

I came across an article on the Wall Street Journal's website that relates to a trend that I find to be deeply concerning: the militarization of America's Police Force. Before I go any further, I would like to express that I intend no disrespect toward our nation's police. They have a difficult and often terrifying job: To stand between criminals and law-abiding citizens. I was raised to believe that is an incredibly honorable thing to do.

Having said that, let's move on to what set me off within this article: no knock raids. In my opinion, no knock raids for nonviolent and consensual crimes are a blight on American civil liberties, and they erode the trust and confidence in that we place in the fine men and women serving as our nation's police. Moreover, while SWAT Teams can be an invaluable resource to draw upon, selecting, training, and equipping one to conduct operations in a safe and effective manner is obscenely expensive. It requires funding that most local governments just don't have. It also has a very limited mission, making it one of the least cost-effective resources available to state and local governments.

There are a number of parallels I can draw to this in the military as well, where Army commanders often return from war having seen the power and efficacy of Special Operations units that are trained and equipped to do a similar sort of thing against HVTs/HVIs, and decide they want that capability for themselves (or want to bring that capability with them as they transition out for Special Operations into the regular Army). Unfortunately, your average regular Army unit does not have the millions upon millions of dollars required to properly select, train, and equip even a platoon of Soldiers to do this mission (to say nothing of the authorities required to carry out such a mission), and you end up with something that is dangerous to itself and the people it operates around.

Bottom line: It's fine for everyone to get all up in arms about the government collecting and possibly storing for up to 5 years all those fan emails you like to send to your favorite porn stars, but maybe we should consider contacting our senators and representatives (http://www.contactingthecongress.org/) about this, too.

Bullshido LEOs: I would hope that you don't misinterpret my dislike of no knock raids as disrespect toward your profession. I am especially interested in LEO opinions on the subject, whether you agree with me or not.

Original article:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html

slamdunc
7/20/2013 10:29am,
Bullshido LEOs: I would hope that you don't misinterpret my dislike of no knock raids as disrespect toward your profession. I am especially interested in LEO opinions on the subject, whether you agree with me or not.Andy Griffith would be my role-model in ideal times, but the spectrum is really broad in law enforcement. It can go from Mayberry to South Central at any given time and occasionally, the SWAT approach is necessary.

By interviewing candidates for patrol positions, I have learned a lot about what influences the youth of today and steers them toward law enforcement. Mostly it is television and the movies; they both tend to glamorize the profession. I was influenced by local officers who really gave a **** about the people they served and would kick an ass if and when it was necessary. I am all about community oriented policing, but have my raid vest and AR-15 just in case.

I do feel that 'no-knock' warrant service has its place, but that is kind of limited, and as you said, non-violent crimes do not apply IMHO. Not all law enforcement want to be SWAT, but it would seem that we get more of the World of Warcraft types than Adam-12.

There is a reason that many people do not like the police; attitude is the first thing that comes to mind.

http://i1261.photobucket.com/albums/ii595/slamdunc1/MilitaryBanner_zpsd361578d.png (http://s1261.photobucket.com/user/slamdunc1/media/MilitaryBanner_zpsd361578d.png.html)

Cassius
7/20/2013 10:56am,
Just to clarify: I am not against no knock raids entirely. I object to their use to serve warrants for non-violent and/or consensual crimes. As for violent criminals, as a colleague of mine who is at the USMS once said: "If I'm serving a violent criminal with a warrant, **** going into his house. That's how you get shot. I'm gonna wait until he leaves and then sneak up on him when he's at a gas station taking a piss."

I realize there are a ton of situations where that is not feasible and police have to raid the house, but the quote is still funny.

tgace
7/20/2013 5:20pm,
Something I see is that many people cant tell the difference between a SWAT team and a group of plainclothes. My narcotics unit has been called SWAT by offenders simply because we wear external vests with POLICE labels on them and our lead man carries a shotgun when we execute our own warrants. We are not a SWAT team (even though I and one of my detectives are indeed SWAT members).

We (narcotics) are about 50/50 on forced entry vs a ruse or waiting for a suspect to leave and take him down outside of the house. Some of these people are not the types you Barney Fife around with...some you can simply talk to, others you don't want to give the option to think about what they are going to do.

Its the decision to make forced entry....regardless of who is doing it and what they are wearing that is the root of most of the horror stories. Careful consideration of the situation and the need to force entry needs to be made. Sometimes its needed sometimes its not.

The REAL problem...as its almost always is...is leadership decision making. Not equipment.

An interesting piece on this topic:

http://rescuehumor.com/police-militarization-history-lesson-and-reality-check/


Time for a recap. Various talking heads and conspiracy theorist are postulating that police militarization is the first step in declaring martial law and turning the USA into some dictatorship. These people point to the use of military weapons and military vehicles by local police as facts to support their theories.

But the fact is cops have had machine guns and armored cars for decades. If these are the first step in martial law, how long does it take to make this first step? Seriously we have been taking this first step since the early 1900s. Is this some kind of multi generational conspiracy?

Phrost
7/20/2013 6:27pm,
This is entirely the fault of the "War on Drugs"; the "war" bit has been taken way too literally and we've got sheriffs with goddamn MRAPs and every small town wants their own SWAT team so they can play live-action Call of Duty on potheads.

This all started when certain people realized the magic formula to milk the public for money: fear.

Fear of having their precious little crotch-nuggets becoming apathetic burnouts who can't take care of them in their old age, at best, or sucking cock for a hit in an alley at worst.

Seeing cops in the ARMY COMBAT UNIFORM pisses me off.

http://i.imgur.com/IGbgzpV.jpg

As cornball as it is, the entire situation can be summed up by a quote from a TV show:

http://i.imgur.com/FoOjor0.jpg

tgace
7/20/2013 8:40pm,
Well..since Narcotics is what i do I will just say that we don't target "pot heads". Our last target was a career criminal (on probation) who was pumping Heroin to all the local suburban kids and his plug form a nearby city was a another felon known to be armed who lead us on a car chase while he was in reverse...ultimately drugs are just a means of getting people who commit all sorts of other crimes off of the streets.

When it comes to ACU's...we (SWAT)wear em. We need a uniform of some sort and ACU's are cheap, plentiful and easily available. We used to wear all black but the uniforms available were either obscenely expensive or crappy pieces of tissue paper.

When it comes to Armored vehicles...I'd have loved to have had one on the last barricaded gunman call-out we had. Approaching a house to cut the power on an armed suspect on foot with only a shield is not the safest way to do things. Some rolling cover that is bullet proof would have been great.

And actually...many teams with the armored vehicles use them INSTEAD of making dynamic entry on high-risk warrants. They pull up on the lawn and call the bad guys out. I think that's a net improvement vs having to get shot at or have to shoot at some dealer over a drug warrant.

Cops have used armored cars since the 40's.

15223

Phrost
7/20/2013 10:39pm,
That's the point though, if law enforcement needs to be done with military tactics and equipment, the National Guard should be called out. We should be trained for combat, whereas police should be trained to serve and protect the public.

Also, the War on Drugs is fundamentally bullshit; what people do with their own bodies is no business of the government. And simply from an Economics perspective, it creates an artificially inflated commodity that is massively profitable for everyone from the street thugs making hundreds and thousands, to banks making trillions off knowingly laundering the money (http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/outrageous-hsbc-settlement-proves-the-drug-war-is-a-joke-20121213).

It's simply the second prohibition, the original started to fortunes of many including the Kennedy family, the current one is funding god knows what. I honestly don't care at this point, I just don't like the fact that because of the drug war, you're eight times as likely to be killed by a cop than by a terrorist (http://www.cato.org/blog/youre-eight-times-more-likely-be-killed-police-officer-terrorist).

Don't take any of this the wrong way, I'm no hippy, nor am I in the least antagonistic to police. I'm just hostile to the encroaching police state under a bullshit justification that makes certain people massively wealthy while depriving others of their freedom and liberties (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/patriot-act-used-to-fight-more-drug-dealers-than-terrorists/2011/09/07/gIQAcmEBAK_blog.html).

tgace
7/20/2013 10:53pm,
I was in the National Guard. The idea of a NG unit knowing how to handle a domestic barricaded gunman call out (that typically seem to hit my cell phone around 2AM...and we get there by 3...try to get ammo issued in the NG in THAT timeframe LOL!), or a hostage rescue is laughable. Anyway a number of the NG members in my old unit were cops.

SWAT is not conducting "combat operations". They are conducting civilian police operations. Uniforms and rifles don't equal "combat operations".

While the big news ****-up's of SWAT tend to be warrant service related, SWAT has a very specific civilian LE purpose for many things other than warrant execution.

Gear and equipment isn't "militarization".....application is.

tgace
7/20/2013 11:04pm,
I do have to say that some of these 20 man PD's creating Teams that use 3/4's of their department to execute arrest warrants that wouldn't meet the thresholds on most assessments are not helping....

But the argument regarding the sheer numbers of SWAT uses prove noting IMO....some people seem to think that uniformed or plainclothes officers kicking in a door is "better" because they are not wearing helmets or carrying M4"s. A cop serving a warrant is a cop serving a warrant regardless of what he's wearing/holding. What is important is that the right tactics/approach is being used no matter the gear.

Phrost
7/20/2013 11:33pm,
The Guard probably isn't the best solution; it's still military used against civilians.

This just popped ip in my news feed:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?m od=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Bullshido - No BS MMA mobile app

tgace
7/21/2013 12:14am,
Just to clarify: I am not against no knock raids entirely. I object to their use to serve warrants for non-violent and/or consensual crimes. As for violent criminals, as a colleague of mine who is at the USMS once said: "If I'm serving a violent criminal with a warrant, **** going into his house. That's how you get shot. I'm gonna wait until he leaves and then sneak up on him when he's at a gas station taking a piss."

I realize there are a ton of situations where that is not feasible and police have to raid the house, but the quote is still funny.

Don't read too much into "what" the warrant was for, the reason for the warrant is but one factor in a threat assessment...and a low value one at that.

What if the target in your "only a marijuana warrant" is on parole for murder?

What if the target has a criminal history of resisting/violence/weapons?

What if the confidential informant in the case tells you he has seen weapons in the residence and the target and his 3 brothers are all known gang members?

What if the structure is known to be barricaded and you need breaching expertise?

What if the real investigatory purpose is to get a violent probationer known to be involved in criminal enterprise back behind bars and the most solid case you have is a "marijuana warrant"?

The "they used SWAT only for a xxxxxx warrant" is meaningless when it comes to a valid reason to use SWAT...to someone who knows what valid reasons are.

And I'm all for outside the house takedowns IF they are possible. The sad fact of the matter is that SWAT team activations come with an OT bill...many Chiefs are not gonna be too keen on sitting on a target for an unknown timeframe to do a takedown. Most takedown operations are done by my unit vs SWAT as long as the threat assessment doesn't mandate SWAT.

Is all this to say that I don't think many PD's are NOT misusing their Teams? Hell no...I KNOW that some are. But the "Militarization" thing is a tad hyperbolic IMO.

Cassius
7/21/2013 12:19am,
The Guard probably isn't the best solution; it's still military used against civilians.

This just popped ip in my news feed:
http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323848804578608040780519904.html?m od=WSJ_hpp_LEFTTopStories

Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I317 using Bullshido - No BS MMA mobile appYou realize that's the article I linked to in the OP, right?

In terms of distinguishing military from police, my opinion is that perception is reality. Police should strive to NOT look like the military.

More food for thought:

http://www.cato.org/raidmap

Phrost
7/21/2013 12:23am,
Ha, no I didn't. Was browsing on my phone when I saw that.

I realize that ACUs are cheaper and generally better (than some of the crap out there), but the distinction is more important. Cops should be cops, should look like cops, not soldiers. It's obvious that some cops who dress like soldiers, want to play soldier more than they want to get cats out of trees and help old ladies cross the street.

Hell, I've even heard cops refer to non-cops as "civilians". Cops are civilians too, except for those who are currently serving in a reserve status for the military.

tgace
7/21/2013 12:38am,
Eh..the whole LEO/Civilian discussion.

I think there's a difference between using the terms to describe/discuss the fact that police:

1. Are sworn members of a government quasi-military organization.

2. They take an oath to uphold the Constitution.

3. They are given legal authority by their agency and state or federal law which exceeds any legal authority possessed by other citizens.

and using the term as a class differentiation.

Webster even defines Civilian as:

Definition of CIVILIAN
1: a specialist in Roman or modern civil law
2a : one not on active duty in the armed services or not on a police or firefighting force

...I agree with the sentiment and the idea that officers should think of themselves as members of their community, we are all subject to the same laws. But I wouldn't get too twisted with the words when used in general discussion.

In my PD we have non-sworn persons who work there..they are termed "civilian employees" but could also be termed "non-sworn". LE/Civilian is generally better understood in discussion than Sworn/Non-Sworn is (except perhaps by other Cops).

I think that in colloquial use it's not a big deal to refer to police as non-civilians casually, but in a formal or official context it would not be appropriate.

I've never referred to a non-le as a civilian when I was off duty....

tgace
7/21/2013 12:41am,
Ha, no I didn't. Was browsing on my phone when I saw that.

I realize that ACUs are cheaper and generally better (than some of the crap out there), but the distinction is more important. Cops should be cops, should look like cops, not soldiers. It's obvious that some cops who dress like soldiers, want to play soldier more than they want to get cats out of trees and help old ladies cross the street.

Hell, I've even heard cops refer to non-cops as "civilians". Cops are civilians too, except for those who are currently serving in a reserve status for the military.

Well...we do things in the SWAT role that we don't do in Patrol. Low crawling to a sniper position during a hostage call-out in a patrol uniform wouldn't make much sense.

Phrost
7/21/2013 12:47am,
The reason why it's important is to not make that distinction is again, because police should not see themselves as different from the communities they police. The "us vs. them" thing is bad enough that those of us that are a part of the "them", have taken notice of it, and even those of us that are pro-police are getting a bit fed up with the massive sense of entitlement to authority.

For example, the Florida officer who pulled over an off duty cop who was going 30+ over the speed limit to get to his part time job, and got harassed and trashed on the Internet by other cops who were pissed that she didn't just let him off; she actually gave him the ticket.

If anything, the police should be held to a much higher standard of law, not above it.